Coarse Fishing


Our brief, plain speaking guide to lovely tench.


Tench are one of coarse fishing’s easiest fish to spot, with distinctive olive green bodies, bronze colouring on the sides, and a yellowish belly; fins are usually as dark as the body, or tending towards black. They are quite round-bodied with a relatively big head, small reddish eyes, and a sensor barb on each corner of the mouth. Because its scales are small and mucus covered, they are slippery, so handle appropriately or the poor blighter will be bouncing down the riverbank with you in pursuit!
Finding them
Tench are one of the hardiest of stillwater species that coarse fishing encounters, and not the easiest to find. They are extremely tolerant of very lush low visibility/high vegetation lakes and ponds that are so low in oxygen even the tough guy carp won’t be found within. They are also found in some lowland rivers, more often the slow and deep kind. Dense weeds, lots of silt, and high temperatures are food and drink to the tench – the Bear Grylls of coarse fishing! (No word on what it drinks…) They are bottom feeders that like to blend into reeds and vegetation to reduce conspicuity, and will also gravitate towards dips and depths in the waterbed where it finds them. But, they are not ninjas without signature: on the calmest surface keep an eye out for repeated tiny bubbles exuded when they eat feed, the shuddering of reeds, or mysterious ripples.
Food and bait
As said, tench are mainly bottom feeders, rooting out crustaceans, bloodworms, water insects, molluscs, and vegetation. If waters are clearer and suited for something like high numbers of carp, tench numbers will be low and sizes limited, making them a more challenging catch. Otherwise, worms, corn nibblets, maggots, and casters are the way to go.
Tench spawn late spring to early summer, laying eggs in vegetation.
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